How To Become LEED Certified

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How To Become LEED Certified

Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post. This means that at no cost to you, I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link. I will only ever promote the products and services that I trust and 100% recommend. You may read my full disclosure policy for more information. Thanks for supporting my business in this way.

Whenever I am asked "How Do I Become LEED Certified?" I answer simply, "You can't."

But why?

The reason is that LEED Certification is often confused with LEED accreditation. The difference is that buildings are LEED Certified and people are LEED Accredited. 

Now that we have established the proper nomenclature we can look at the steps involved. 

Here is a video summary of LEED:

 
 

How To Become LEED Certified (Accredited).

USGBC vs. GBCI vs. Prometric

There are three separate organizations involved in the LEED process:

  1. USGBC: deals with outlining and establishing the LEED standards.
  2. GBCI: (Green Business Certification Inc) runs the LEED Accreditation programs for people and LEED Certification buildings.
  3. Prometric: testing centers that administer the exams.

LEED Green Associate vs. LEED AP

There are two levels of LEED accreditation: LEED Green Associate and LEED AP.

LEED Green Associate

Entry level certification requires passing one test.

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LEED Green Associates have a documented, up-to-date understanding of the most current green building principles and practices, and are committed to their professional future.

LEED AP

Advanced qualification for sustainability professionals. 

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The most common AP category is the LEED AP Building Design + Construction (LEED AP BD+C). There are five categories available.

Here are the six simple steps detailed in the LEED Green Associate® Candidate Handbook on How To Become LEED Certified (Accredited).


1. Register For The Exam

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  • Log in to your Credentials account by using your existing USGBC® site user account or create a new account.
  • Select the LEED Green Associate exam under the credentials section.
  • You will be redirected to prometric.com/gbci to schedule your exam date and location.
  • Candidates must pay the registration fee for each exam attempt.

2. Study For The Exam

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The LEED Green Associate exam contains 100 randomly delivered multiple choice questions and must be completed in 2 hours.

Obviously you do not want to waste your time and money on a useless resource. There are free resources out there but in my experience the quality is very low. You get what you pay for.

I recommend the exam bundles for anyone who is looking for an all-in-one solution. You don't need to search around and piece together study guides, practice tests, audio and video lessons - it is all provided for you in one convenient package.

Having passed the test myself I spent a lot of time wading through a bunch of different LEED study materials.

If you are looking to pass the LEED Green Associate or BD+C Exam on your first try, these resources are what I recommend.


This LEED study package combines all of the best online tools into one easy to use bundle. Using every teaching style, from audio to visual to kinetic, our materials will reinforce the concepts and terms you need to study to pass the first time.

CORE PRODUCT DETAILS
This LEED Green Associate Platinum Pack includes best-selling The Original LEED Practice Tests, updated for the latest LEED v4 Green Associate content. Each question includes an explanation about why the answer is correct.

In addition, the online LEED webinars will walk you through the core material covered by the exam. While you watch the videos, take hand-written notes to reinforce the concepts.

The study guide is a searchable powerhouse with definitions and examples to expand on the videos and practice tests.

SUPPORTING DOCUMENT TIPS
Review the flash cards either online or by printing to strengthen your memory of referenced standards, LEED definitions, and more.

The study sheets are printable so you can highlight, or cross-off as your personal habits and great to use as a ‘cheat sheet’ because it collects all the key terms in one location.

EVERYTHING YOU NEED IN ONE PLACE
Whether you are a seasoned professional, a student, or new to sustainability, our LEED exam prep materials will guide you through the most current green building principles and practices. Save time and money – study once and pass the LEED GA Exam the first time.

Learn more about the LEED Green Associate Platinum Pack


This LEED AP BD+C Platinum study package combines all of the best online tools into one easy to use bundle. Using every teaching style, from audio to visual to kinetic, the materials will reinforce the concepts and terms you need to study to pass the first time.

ESSENTIAL STUDY TOOLS
This Platinum Pack includes best-selling The Original LEED Practice Tests, updated for the latest LEED v4 Building Design and Construction content. In addition, the online LEED webinars will walk you through the core material covered by the exam.

HOW IT WORKS

The materials included in this Platinum Pack are designed to help you pass your LEED AP BD+C Specialty exam the first time.

The online tools cover all Knowledge Domains that reflect the BD+C Rating System credit categories and what one needs to know. These topics follow the exam outline from the LEED AP BD+C Candidate Handbook, and mirror the content of the actual LEED exam:

Learn more about the LEED AP BD+C Platinum Pack


3. Go To The Test Center

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  • It is recommended that you arrive at the test center at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled exam appointment.
  • Candidates who arrive at the test site after their scheduled exam time will lose their seat.
  • You will be escorted to a workstation by test center staff.
  • You must remain in your seat during the exam except when authorized to leave by test center staff.
  • If you need to take a break, testing time will NOT be suspended.
  • Candidates must provide a valid, unexpired ID with a signature, a photograph that looks like the candidate and an expiration date.

4. Take The Exam

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  • The exam is computer-based.
  • Exam questions and answer options are displayed on screen.
  • The computer records your responses and times your exam.
  • You are able to change your answers, skip questions and flag questions for later review.

Be prepared to commit 2 hours 20 minutes for the exam.

Total exam time is broken out as follows:

  • Optional 10 minute tutorial
  • 2 hour exam and an optional
  • 10 minute exit survey.

**Be aware that if a candidate exits the exam session before completing the exam, the exam cannot be restarted and the exam session and fee are forfeited.


5. Pass The Exam

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  • Exam Results: All LEED professional exams are scored between 125 and 200.
  • A score of 170 or higher is required to pass.
  • Your exam score will be displayed on screen at the end of the exam and you will receive a copy of your results via email.
  • Within 72 hours of your appointment, your exam results will be processed, your Credentials account will be updated and, if applicable, your badge will be updated in the usgbc.org

6. Designate Your Credential

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  • As soon as you have passed the LEED Green Associate exam, you can use the title “LEED® Green Associate™” and/or the logo.
  • Once your exam results have been processed, you can download a copy of your certificate through your usgbc.org account.

I hope this summary on how to become LEED certified has been helpful.

If I left something out that you have found particularly useful please let me know in the comments below.

Thanks for reading, see also my posts on:

The Best LEED Exam Prep Materials

Good luck!

Brandon Hubbard, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C